new zealand electronic poetry centre


Robin Hyde

The Desolate Star And Other Poems


The seed was aye a foreigner,
Blown on swart winds from lands afar,
Borne by strange birds with crimson wings
From islands of an evil star.

From many a siren-haunted shore,
Beaconing death to driven ships,
Seed-tentacles sprang forth to choke
The laughter on my Eden’s lips.

Cypresses such as shadowed o’er
Moon-temples of an ancient stain
Shut out Thy gold of sunshine, Lord,
The falling silvers of Thy rain.

Great lilies swayed, like those strange nymphs
Whose death-white lips and hair of gold
Drew men through secret depths to find
Pearl arms and bosoms icy cold.

Reeds from the satyr-streams grew tall,
And upas trees of poisoned breath,
Beneath whose dark, enchanted boughs
A dream might slumber into death.

Lord, now that this invaders’ horde
Is swept by Thy destroying flame,
See what a scarred and blackened land
Awaits Thy pity on her shame.

Yet o’er her stray wind-fingers soft;
The mist leans low to her pain, and grieves;
Under her breast small fingers stir,
Fingers unborn of tiny leaves.

Peace to the desolate, O Lord!
Ah, let her grass grow long and sweet,
Till it shall kiss the tiredness
From children’s little naked feet.


Last updated 17 February, 2003